This simple trick exposes employers who spy on their employees

This simple trick exposes employers who spy on their employees

Whether at the office or working remotely, your employer can easily track your activity using a tool initially designed to secure data. Here's a straightforward method to detect it.

With the rise of remote work, an increasing number of companies are stepping up their efforts to monitor their employees' online activities. While some organizations focus on restricting access to non-work-related websites or monitoring professional email accounts, others take a more comprehensive approach by tracking their employees' online browsing behavior. The primary tool employed for this purpose is often a proxy server—an intermediary positioned between the employee's work computer and the websites they access.

This intermediary between the work computer and the website was originally designed to enhance security by safeguarding login data and filtering out potentially harmful elements like malware, proxy servers can be repurposed for intrusive workplace surveillance. By intercepting and decrypting SSL connections originating from the internal network, these servers expose the entire data flow to the company, allowing them to monitor web searches and potentially access sensitive information, such as passwords.

From a legal standpoint, employers generally have the right to decrypt SSL flows, but accessing personal data, including passwords, may require involvement of a sworn third party. One straightforward method to determine if your employer is using a proxy server is by inspecting the SSL certificate used by your browser. While on the internet, clicking on the padlock icon next to the URL in the address bar provides access to the certificate. Examining the issuer of the certificate ("issued by" or "issued to") can reveal whether your company is using a proxy server. If another company's name appears, it's essential to verify its existence through an internet search, as it might be a name created by your employer for an internal certificate.

Beyond the use of proxy servers, employers may employ other spyware programs to monitor employees, whether in the office or working remotely. Some programs capture screenshots of employees' computers at regular intervals, such as every 10 minutes, while others utilize keyloggers to record every keystroke. However, it's crucial for employers to inform remote workers of any surveillance measures in place, and the tools used must adhere to the principles of being "relevant and proportionate" to ensure ethical and legal compliance. Balancing the need for security with employees' right to privacy is a delicate yet essential aspect of remote work dynamics.